Another week of wild weather in our region (hey, it IS still winter), but that hasn’t slowed down the beer news one bit. Plenty of new and returning favourites this week, and some events to give you an excuse to shake off the snow and ice and get out for a local beer. No matter who you’re rooting for in this weekend’s Big Game, we figure you’ll find something in this week’s Wrap-Up to celebrate.
• After a brief hiatus, Stillwell Brewing is (thankfully) back with not one, but TWO new bottles releases tomorrow starting at noon. Let’s start with Solo, a 4.7% ABV Farmhouse Ale (think Grisette-like) that was brewed last March and fermented in a Chardonnay barrel. Bottled as-is in July for another 6 months of aging, it is very light, and lightly-carbonated… “a pure expression of our house yeast cultures at work in one barrel at one time” according to the brewery. Next is Dang, a 7.2% ABV Saison hopped generously in the kettle with Sterling, and fermented with the brewery’s house cultures in French Oak white wine barrels. Once fermentation was complete, the beer was blended from select barrels and dry-hopped “massively” with more Sterling, and Saphir, resulting in a final product best described by the brewery as “zesty”. Both beers will be available for purchase from 12-4 pm at the rear entrance behind 2015 Gottingen St. , along with Stilly Pils T-shirts. Oh, and it definitely bears mentioning that they’ll also be selling the last few cases of their other hoppy Saison, Saazbier… and really, if you haven’t tried this beer yet (and even if you have!), you owe it to yourself to pick some up. You’ll also be able to enjoy Solo and Dang at Stillwell-proper from Saturday at noon as well (bottles on-site only).
• Foghorn Brewing recently brewed their 100th batch, and decided to tackle something special to mark the occasion – their first New England IPA. Brewed with 2-row, Oats, and Wheat malt, Tabula Rasa was bittered to only 20-25 IBUs with a small addition of Topaz. The high majority of the hops were added late in the brew, where lots of Azacca and Mosaic were added for the whirlpool addition, with even more in the dry hop, along with Citra and Galaxy to give even more tropical fruit, mango, and pineapple on the nose. With a big juicy flavour and low bitterness, this 7% ABV will go down dangerously easy. Best to enjoy this one fresh, so hop over to the Foghorn taproom now for a pint or growler; you can also find it on tap at a few select establishments.
• Speaking of New England IPAs, Niche Brewing has just released their first as well, coincidentally named Apt Pupil. Brewed with a fairly simple grist that includes a good portion of Malted Oats, the hop stars for this beer are Galaxy, Simcoe and Equinox, which were added late in the boil, mainly in the whirlpool. Two large dry-hop additions were thrown in (one when active fermentation began to slow), with the emphasis on the Galaxy, resulting in lots of “passion fruit, mango, pineapple, and tropical fruit” in both the aroma and flavour. Finishing with a fairly-firm bitterness at 65 IBUs, this 7.0% ABV one-off is available now in Fredericton at the Palate and James Joyce, with one or two other tap accounts joining suit next week. And if you’re in Halifax and missed out on the opportunity to give this new brewery a try last weekend, a keg of Apt Pupil and Orange Creamsicle IPA (the brewery’s Milkshake IPA) will be dropped off at Stillwell later today.
• Next week’s Good Robot Beta Brew will be a dark Saison named Spice In My System. Community member Dina Lobo joined Kelly Costello in the brewhouse, and the two drew inspiration from Lobo’s heritage as a half-Syrian and half-Indian woman, choosing ingredients and flavours used in the food and drink of those cultures. Lightly-hopped (to just 8 IBUs) with Saphir and Wai-Iti to give a mild, citrus aroma, the beer was fermented with a Belgian yeast strain that contributes “banana bread, mild clove, and funk” to the nose. Toasted coconut was added to smooth out the mouthfeel in this 4.5% ABV brew, which finishes with a “subtle, curry warmth”, according to the brewery. As with all Beta Brews, it will be tapped Tuesday afternoon. In GRBC Alpha news, Dave & Morley has returned, the brewery’s 6.0% ABV Coffee Porter brewed in collaboration with Low Point. This batch features Ethiopian Guji coffee, which brings “mild cherry and blueberry notes” to the beer, on top of the toasted caramel and malt flavours.
• In celebration of Sports Ball Game Sunday, Garrison has two new draft-only releases to consider for your game day planning. Six Rings is a 5.8% ABV New England APA that was heavily dry-hopped to give lots of “grass, pineapple, stone fruit, and lemon” in the aroma and flavour; and It’s Always Hoppy in Philadelphia is an American Amber. Both beers are on tap at the brewery for both samples, growlers, and specially-priced party kegs ($90/20 L or $200/50 L, taxes – and a sleeve of cups – included); Bishop’s Cellar will also be taking both beers for their growler program, and Six Rings should pop up on tap at a few licensees in the HRM.
• Earlier this week, Heritage Brewing released Under the Patio Imperial IPA, a beer whose recipe originated in the planning days for the brewery. Named after the turkey fryers used on homebrewing days on their back patio, the brewery has a soft spot for this beer, as it is one of the first recipes that excited them… meaning they knew it would, eventually, be brewed on their professional system. Hopped with Cascade, Chinook, and Citra, this 7.5% ABV has notes of citrus and fruit on the nose and palate. Drop by the brewery today for a growler.
• Saint John’s Loyalist City has brought Craft Coast Canning into their brewery, and now has three of their brands packaged and ready for sale! Sixteen oz cans of Black 47 Stout, Point Blanc IPA, and Three Sisters American Pale Ale can now be purchased at Hammond River‘s taproom, and all Picaroons locations in New Brunswick, and at Long Bay Brewery in Rothesay. All three breweries were kind enough to give Loyalist City an outlet to sell their cans, while they patiently wait for the ANBL to provide them with a listing so that cans can be sold at their stores. While they continue to wait, be sure to drop into the nearest Picaroons or HR location near you!
• Shelburne’s Boxing Rock Brewing has released their take on the Scottish Wee Heavy style this week, named Broken Bagpipe. A collaboration with local homebrewer (and Scot) Jason McDougall, this 7.5% ABV beer is decidedly malt-focused, featuring rich mouthfeel, full body, and flavours of caramel and toast, with a light floral note from the East Kent Golding added sparingly in the boil. The beer will be on tap around the province shortly, with growlers available at the brewery and Farmers Market stalls, and bottles at the brewery and private stores. Speaking of McDougall, Oban Heather, another of his collaborations with Boxing Rock will be returning later this month.
• So, do you want to join the likes of McDougall, and other Nova Scotian homebrewers, and brew with Boxing Rock? Now’s your chance, as their third annual Black Box Challenge has just been announced. Starting out from the same ingredients provided to all entrants, this is the perfect way to flex your recipe-making muscles and coming up with a great beer. While you don’t need to use *everything* in the box, you must limit your starting materials to those provided (plus water). Previous prize-winnings beers include Where There’s Smoke (a smoked beer with cinnamon), Grafted (orange peel Sour), Tropic Thunder (tropical stout), and Hop Springs Eternal (White IPA). Sign up today, grab your ingredients next week, and drop off your beer mid-March, in time for judging. The live finals will take place at Stillwell March 25, when the top 6 finishers will give a presentation on their recipe, brewday, beer, and equipment. These presentations are always exciting and a great way to share more creativity with the judges (and fellow homebrewers). Full rules and dates are available here. There are only a couple of entry spots left, so act NOW to avoid disappointment!
• Port Rexton Brewing‘s retail shop is sure to be a busy spot again this weekend, as they debut another new beer today. Blue Steel is a 4.7% ABV kettle sour, their first of the style. After mashing, the wort is kept warm in the kettle while Lactobacillus work their magic over a day or two, producing lactic acid, before the mixture is boiled to stop the reaction. The wort is cooled, and yeast is pitched like a standard beer, and allowed to ferment and finish. This initial foray into the style features an addition of orange peel for a moderate citrus character to match the acidity and refreshing base beer. Due to the small batch size, there is a 2-can limit of Blue Steel, to ensure there’s enough to go around. And for those who drop by, there are still some cans of Mixed Opportunity available, their 5.6% ABV mixed-fermentation Saison (first with Escarpment Labs Fruit Bomb Saison, and then with a special blend of Brett strains). Joining these two are cans of their Horse Chops IPA, and growlers of Horse Chops and T-Rex Porter. Located at 286 Torbay Rd, the retail shop is open today from 4 – 8 PM and Saturday from 12 – 6 PM (or until they run out of beer).
• Halifax’s Tidehouse Brewing has a pair of new brews to share this week, two brand new reasons to check them out at their Tiny Tasty Beverage Room. The first is Eagle Energy, an IPA in the American Amber style, where malty notes from Vienna and crystal wheat malts combine with a touch of roast and deeper color from kiln coffee malt to balance bold bitterness and tropical and piney hop flavors. Four different hops, Azacca, Columbus, Cascade, and Amarillo were all added to the kettle post-boil. Amarillo and Azacca were additionally joined by Citra during the dry hop. Second we have Mosey Along, a Saison featuring a hazy straw color that comes from a simple malt bill of Canadian 2-row and Vienna. The Mosaic and Hallertauer Blanc hop varieties used are likely to provide a tropical and gentle white whine character as counterpoint against the French Saison yeast strain, known for drying out a beer while still providing a sense of body. Described as “fruity, spicy and refreshing,” it’ll give you a reason to mosey along to Salter Street.
• Charlottetown’s Upstreet Brewing has announced the return of a beer for which they received a Gold Medal at the 2016 Atlantic Canadian Brewing Awards. Then part of their One Way Series, it is being re-released in bottles as part of their Flipside Series, and continuing to go by the simple Black IPA moniker. Very slightly higher in ABV this time at 6.7%, but still coming in at 65 IBU, it pours deep black with an off-white caramel-coloured head. Plenty of hop bitterness is balanced by coffee and chocolate notes from the specialty malts used in the grist. Look for it to appear where other entries in the Flipside Series have appeared, at the very least at the brewery beginning today. In other Upstreet news, we reported recently on their plans to open a “Craft Beer Corner” retail space and taproom and those plans are forging ahead — they’re looking for taproom managers and have posted a pair of positions. So if you’re looking for work in Charlottetown or prepared to move there, have service industry experience, and craft beer is your jam, you might consider sending in a resumé.
• In Fredericton, hop savants Trailway have yet another new one out, taking a step in a truly different direction for them while still playing to their strengths. Abstract Clouds is what they’re calling a “Euro-inspired” IPA, built on an all-German grist and hopped (heavily, make no mistake), with German Hallertauer Blanc and a new experimental French variety known as GJ2. Together they produce a big citrus presence with pineapple, floral, herbal and melon notes underpinned with a spicy character from the yeast. You’ll find it at the brewery and nowhere else starting today.
• As you may be aware if you’ve consumed any amount of media in the last couple of weeks, there’s a Superb Owl this weekend; and, as is tradition for many, such an event calls for beer. Some of Nova Scotia’s craft breweries have decided to help you out with that by featuring discounts on some of their products to help enable your Magnificent Strigiform celebration (or just your enjoyment of independent local beer). First up is Dartmouth’s Spindrift, who are featuring their easy-drinking Killick Session Lager at $40 for a flat of 24 cans until end of day on Saturday. Meanwhile, across the water in Halifax, Garrison has deals on party kegs (contact the brewery for details) and is selling cases of 24 bottles (341 mL) this weekend for $50, letting you mix and match whatever they’ve got on hand. And up the North Shore, Tatamagouche Brewing has a deal on their summer seasonals, with Sunrise Trail session IPA, Lagerhosen traditional European lager, and Philaroma Berliner Weiss with Cherries all available while supplies last at $3.50/can (500 mL) or a case of 12 for $36. We’d suggest assuming tax is extra on any of these great deals and, if you’re going out of your way, maybe checking ahead with the brewery about availability.
We’ve got events all around the region to keep you busy this weekend:
• Dartmouth’s Jamieson’s Irish Pub is holding a Double Header Tap Takeover this weekend, featuring eight taps each from Boxing Rock and Upstreet. The official launch is today, and it runs all weekend, with live music on Saturday at 7:30 pm, and brewery personnel will also be present that evening to chat all things Boxing Rock/Upstreet. Check out the event link above for a full tap list and schedule.
• Fredericton’s Maybee Brewing is turning the big 2, and celebrating with a birthday party tomorrow, February 3rd. Join them at the brewery from 7 pm on for live music (starting at 8 pm), plenty of Maybee beer, an on-site food truck, and a free shuttle to take you back downtown when you’ve had your fill. Cost to attend is $10 at the door.
• Back to tap takeovers, as Garrison is holding their own at Battery Park on Thursday, February 8th. They assure us that they’ve been planning their tap list for the past year, so expect some special beers to be flowing. The doors open at 11:30 am sharp, with all 15 taps dedicated to Garrison, with plenty of employees sure to be on-site joining in the fun.
• With the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival just five weeks away (March 7-11), they are adding a few more volunteers to their roster, to ensure everything runs smoothly. If you are interested in taking part, check out this page for the tasks and schedule for when you could assist. There are plenty of perks, above and beyond a free beer or two, so check it out and sign up today! And in case you didn’t realize, there are still tickets available for the Thursday Trivia & East Coast Tap Takeover at King Street Ale House, Friday Newbie Night, and the Saturday Afternoon Session.
A couple more nibbles before you head out the door:
– Saint John’s Big Tide has released a new IPA, combining the best hops from both sides of the country. Using Magnum from Darling’s Island Farm (who also lent their hops to Loyalist City’s Black 47 mentioned previously) and Cascade, Chinook, and Triple Pearl from Topp’s Hops in Abbotsford, the Best Coasts IPA is 6.8% ABV, and a juicy 67 IBUs. Grab it on tap, or to go in a growler, at the brewery today.
– For those of you entering the Garrison Home Brew-Off Challenge, just a quick note to let you know that the Gala date has been changed to
Wednesday, March 28th Thursday, March 29th (we originally got that wrong, SORRY!!). And remember, entries are due by end of day, Monday, February 12th.
– Grimross has released a pair of new cans this week, making your favourite lagers a bit easier to enjoy at home, or on the local frozen lake in your shelter while you fish: Braunschweig German Pilsner and Crabbe Mountain Après Lager. Both are available at the brewery now, and will be hitting the regional ANBL shelves soon. And speaking of the brewery, they are looking to add a Taproom Server to their family, so check out the job posting and drop by to apply.
– Hammond River Brewing has brewed up a couple of old favourites: Nut Your Everyday Red Ale, an “English Red”, and Imperial Breakfast Stout, which includes the addition of chocolate, coffee beans, and homemade Applewood-smoked bacon. Look for both on tap in the near future (and note that the Imperial Breakfast Stout was brewed on their 1-bbl pilot system, so kegs will be limited!).
– Picaroons has brought back their beer for lovers just in time for February 14th. Afterglow Aphrodisiac Ale features roasted cacao nibs, chili peppers, licorice and gingseng root, on top of a 7.0% ABV base. Bottled for the first time this year, find bottles at the Brewtique and across the province beginning today. Worry not, it’s also available on draft.
– Halifax’s Rockbottom has a new kettle sour on tap at the brewpub, Sour of Love. Soured with Lactobacillus until nicely tart, the beer then had cherry and rhubarb puree added, giving it a bright, reddish-pink colour, and a “pleasant, fruity aroma”.
– Chester’s Tanner & Co Brewing are debuting the latest entry in their Small Lot series, Belgian Tripel. At 9.3% ABV and 37 IBU, this is sure to keep you warm on these cold winter nights. Find this and a quartet of other beers in growlers at the brewery at 50 Angus Hiltz Rd 12-5PM both Saturday and Sunday.
– Unfiltered is bringing back their Hops and Dreams (7.5% ABV) – a SMaSH beer brewed with 2-Row and Amarillo hops, today; look for it at the brewery and at Unfiltered tap accounts in the Maritimes.